Roger Benson

Macaulay Curator; Curator-in-Charge, Fossil Amphibians, Reptiles, and Birds; Curator-in-Charge, Fossil Plants, Division of Paleontology

Professor, Richard Gilder Graduate School

Roger Benson sits on rocky outcrop and examines a specimen in the field.


  • University of Cambridge and Natural History Museum London, PhD, 2009
  • Imperial College and Natural History Museum London, MSc, 2005
  • University of Cambridge, BA, 2004

Research Interests

My research spans from field discovery and detailed anatomy of fossils, up to quantitative analysis of the large-scale patterns of evolution that have shaped biodiversity. It incorporates 3D morphometric and comparative study of both living and fossil species, phylogenetic palaeobiology, quantitative studies of form-function relationships, and classic elements of palaeontology/systematics.

My expertise is focused on Mesozoic and Late Palaeozoic groups including dinosaurs and other reptiles. My research group has addressed fundamental questions on the deep time evolutionary history of tetrapods more widely, including mammals, birds, crocodylians, turtles, lizards and their ancestors. It also finds links between the past and the present, using large datasets of extant species anatomy to test hypotheses of the ecology of extinct species such as dinosaurs.




Fabbri M, Navalón G, Benson RBJ [co-corresponding author], (18 authors). 2022. Subaqueous foraging and wading behaviour among giant predatory dinosaurs. Nature 603(7903):852-857

Brocklehurst N, Ford DP, Benson RBJ. 2022. Early origins of divergent macroevolutionary patterns on the mammal and reptile stem-lineages. Systematic Biology 71, 1195–1209.

Benson RBJ, Butler RJ, Close RA, Saupe E, Rabosky DL. 2021. Biodiversity across space and time in the fossil record. Current Biology 31, R1225-R1236.

Choiniere JN, (13 authors), Benson RBJ. 2021. Evolution of vision and hearing modalities in theropod dinosaurs. Science 372, 610-613.

Davesne D, Friedman M, Schmitt AD, Fernandez V, Carnevale G, Ahlberg G, Sanchez S, Benson RBJ. 2021. Fossilized cell structured identify an ancient origin for the teleost whole genome duplication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 118, e2101780118.

Ford DP, Benson RBJ. 2020. The phylogeny of early amniotes and the affinities of Parareptilia and Varanopidae. Nature Ecology and Evolution 4, 57-65.

Benson RBJ. 2018. Dinosaur macroevolution and macroecology. Annual Reviews of Ecology, Evolution

and Systematics 49, 379-408.

Benson RBJ, Hunt G, Carrano MT, Campione N. 2018 Cope’s rule and the adaptive landscape of dinosaur body size evolution. Palaeontology 61, 13–48.

Evers S, Benson RBJ. 2018. A new phylogenetic hypothesis of turtles with implications for the timing and number of evolutionary transitions to marine lifestyles in the group. Palaeontology (

Benson RBJ, Butler RJ, Alroy J, Mannion PD, Carrano MT, Lloyd GT. 2016. Near-stasis in the long-term diversification of Mesozoic tetrapods. PLOS Biology 14(1): e1002359.

Benson RBJ, Campione NE, Carrano MT, Mannion PD, Sullivan C, Upchurch P, Evans DC. 2014. Rates of dinosaur body mass evolution indicate 170 million years of sustained ecological innovation on the avian stem lineage. PLOS Biology 12(5): e1001853.

Teaching Experience

  • Curator of Dinosaurs, Division of Palaeontology, American Museum of Natural History, 2023-
  • Professor, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, 2017–2022
  • Associate Professor, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, 2012–2017